Smoke is no friend of the lungs, whether it’s from tobacco, cannabis or even a burning wood fire.

As for how cannabis smoke affects lung health, up to date and long-term data remains insufficient. But erring on the side of caution, the pandemic is still a good reason to hit pause. Here’s why.

Cannabis smoke can injure the cell linings of the large airways in the body leading to an “increased likelihood of symptoms of chronic bronchitis (inflammation in the lungs),” notes a 2013 study. More recently, McMaster University researchers reported that the impacts of smoking cannabis and smoking tobacco are more similar than many think.

Research also suggests cannabis smoke contains toxins, chemicals and carcinogenic similar to the ones found in tobacco smoke. Furthermore, cannabis users may have a little more to worry about. Citing a 2016 study, the American Lung Association points out that cannabis smokers “tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than cigarette smokers, which leads to a greater exposure per breath to tar.” When it comes to second-hand cannabis smoke, research suggests toxins inhaled are similar to that of direct smoke.

COVID-19 poses a high risk to people over the age of 65 and others with serious underlying medical conditions. But since the symptoms include cough, and difficulty breathing, the Canadian Paediatric Society points out the virus can also be fatal among young people.

“While COVID-19 is less likely to cause serious symptoms in younger people, in combination with substance use like vaping or smoking cigarettes or cannabis, it could pose a serious health threat,” wrote Dr. Nicholas Chadi and Dr. Richard Bélanger of the Canadian Pediatric Society.

Cannabis smoke can injure the cell linings of the large airways in the body leading to an “increased likelihood of symptoms of chronic bronchitis (inflammation in the lungs),” notes a 2013 study. DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Vaping and smoking, cigarettes or cannabis, can weaken the lung’s regular defences and affect cardiovascular health, they say.

“Young people who smoke or vape may be more likely to develop complications from coronavirus like pneumonia or acute respiratory distress, which could result in hospitalization and/or treatment in an intensive care unit,” note Dr. Chadi and Dr. Bélanger.

The American Lung Association maintains that smoking could weaken the body’s response to diseases and infections, but so far, data is inconclusive.

A 2002 study by the University Of South Florida reports otherwise. “Marijuana may alter immune function in people — but the jury is still out on whether it hurts or helps the body’s ability to fight infection or other diseases.”

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SOURCE: https://www.thegrowthop.com/wellness/smoking-lungs-cannabis-covid19-coronavirus